HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Narwhal and Jelly, by Ben Clanton | Book Series Review

Narwhal and Jelly, by Ben Clanton | Book Series Review

The Children’s Book Review | December 5, 2019

Pretty much any elementary-school kid can tell you all about Narwhals, the most magical creatures in the ocean—they’re kind of a big deal. And here comes Narwhal, one of our favorite characters ready to mingle! With an impressive unicorn-like horn and fishy friends galore, Narwhal takes the waves by storm for fun and adventure in these charming early readers meet graphic novels. 

Author and illustrator Ben Clanton has reeled in the big one with this adorable, peppy series. Narwhal is lovable and silly, and Jelly is his straight man and foil. While sweet and fun, the series manages to touch on important subjects that help parents and kids with real-life topics. Not feeling special, making new friends, and feeling alone are all things that school-aged children grapple with. These books, with their colorful and engaging cartoonish illustrations and funny punchlines, help kids work out the tough stuff going on in their lives. The best kind of morality tales are wrapped up in stories so fun you don’t realize you’re learning something, and Clanton expertly weaves entertainment and lessons into one perfect tail.

These books are also great for emerging readers. Comic book-type illustrations and fewer words make reading an entire page—and perhaps a chapter!—seem possible. Add in the pure entertainment value of hilarious Narwhal, and children won’t even realize they’re getting their reading minutes in.

Wonderfully fun and perfectly pitched for bigger-topic conversations; the Narwhal and Jelly books are must-haves for your child’s collection.

What to expect: Famous friends, friendship, conflict resolution, adventure

Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea!

Written and Illustrated by Ben Clanton

Book one is NARWHAL, UNICORN OF THE SEA, and we meet our illustrious friend Narwhal. He’s rocking a cool horn and swimming free when he meets up with Jelly, the jellyfish. They strike up a friendship based on their disbelief of the other – who has a horn like that? Are you really made of jelly?! When Narwhal realizes that most other narwhals have a pod, he decides to make his ocean friends a part of his family, complete with stick-on narwhal horns. A wonderfully funny book that shows inclusiveness and kindness, NARWHAL, UNICORN OF THE SEA is an excellent start to the series that will hook new readers.

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Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Tundra Books | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1-101-91871-5


Super Narwhal and Jelly JoltSuper Narwhal and Jelly Jolt

Written and Illustrated by Ben Clanton

In SUPER NARWHAL AND JELLY JOLT, Narwhal decides to become a superhero. Ever practical, Jelly doesn’t think it’s a great idea. Besides, Narwhal doesn’t even have any superpowers! But over three stories Narwhal and Jelly pal around and solve problems, explore, and have a lot of fun. Narwhal tries to help his friends around the ocean, and by the end of the three stories, we realize that he does have a superpower: the power to bring out the super in others! Recognizing our own inner talents, even if they are less flashy than turning invisible, is something children will relate to.

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Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Tundra Books | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1-101918296

Buy the BookPeanut Butter and Jelly

Written and Illustrated by Ben Clanton

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY is the silly adventure of Narwhal trying peanut butter for the first time. Jelly is out, eating his peanut butter cookie when Narwhal swims by. Narwhal admits he’s never eaten anything but waffles – not cake, not sushi, not guacamole, and not even marshmallows! Jelly convinces him to try just a teeny-tiny bite, and with that one taste, Narwhal is hooked. He eats all the peanut butter in the sea and turns in to a teeny-tiny peanut! It looks like there can be too much of a good thing! A delicious romp with the charming duo, PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY gives a gentle lesson on picky eating or eating too much of just one thing. Interspersed with fun oceanic facts (Scientists believe Narwhals eat mainly fish, not waffles smothered in peanut butter), PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY perfectly blends a bit of science into the tale with favorite swimming friends.

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Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Tundra Books | March 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0-7352-6246-1


Buy the BookNarwhal’s Otter Friend

NARWHAL’S OTTER FRIEND is a hilarious and heartfelt look at what happens when Narwhal gets a new friend. What will Jelly do? Narwhal is supposed to be his friend! How can he have another? Realist Jelly doesn’t like Narwhal and Otter’s silly games or ideas for sliding down rainbows, and he thinks Otter’s big tales of adventure sound just a little bit fishy. Jelly goes off to make a new friend himself – he doesn’t need to be second fiddle to some silly Otter. Only, no one seems ready to play. By the end, Narwhal and Otter find Jelly and bring him into their crazy and fantastic games. Jelly realizes that it’s okay to add a new friend to their group, and he and Narwhal are still besties!

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Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Tundra Books | February 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0-73526248


The Narwhal and Jelly book series, by Ben Clanton, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like Animal Adventures by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with , , , , and .

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Denise Mealy is a former web content provider who stays at home to change diapers and write books. Her days are filled with Word documents, books and sloppy kisses (from dogs and baby alike). She likes to read, cook, dance, travel and forward pictures of spam sculptures to friends. If she could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, it would be a toss up between J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. They would probably eat pasta. Yes, definitely pasta. For more information, visit: www.dccmealy.com You can also find her on Twitter: @dccmealy

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